The Life and Online Times Of the Home Broadbander

As increasing numbers of Americans gain broadband access, their use of the Internet is shifting. A report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project documents some of the changes. The most basic of these is that home broadbanders, who now number about 24 million, tend to spend more time online than they did in their dial-up days. Specifically, 61 percent spend more time at home online since going broadband, vs.5 percent spending less time. As you can see from the chart, this cuts into the time they allot to offline activities. The report notes that the decrease in TV viewing “is most pronounced among those most active in using the Internet for entertainment purposes.” But that’s just one of the ways in which broadband access correlates with greater use of the Internet. More broadly, the study finds people with home broadband access are active downloaders: 63 percent have downloaded games, video or pictures, with 22 percent doing so “on a typical day”; 50 percent have downloaded music files, with 17 percent doing this on a typical day. Just as important, 59 percent have at one time or another created content for the Internet or shared files with others online. The chief thing they’ve done more of since gaining home broadband access is “looking for information” (cited by 32 percent). Of special interest to e-tailers, 65 percent of broadbanders said the quick access has “improved their ability to shop” online. Many use the access in connection with their jobs, notably including the one-third of broadbanders who telecommute.